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Stacey Hott claims Roddy is the biological father of her 4-month old baby boy. The Georgia woman said in her paternity suit, “[White] is a professional athlete capable of providing generous support for the minor child commensurate with his earnings.” She also requested that White take out a life insurance policy for himself, for the “benefit of the minor child,” according to TMZ an entertainment website. Roddy’s agent had no comment on the situation.

 

On December 7, 1941 the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor in a surprise attack that decimated the US Pacific Fleet. Of the ships that were attacked few sank as fast or as completely as the Oklahoma, which listed and capsized within minutes after a rapid series of direct torpedo strikes.

Survivors from the Oklahoma described a surreal scene below deck of sloshing water and fuel oil, men trying to climb from the darkness through hatches, beating their way out with tools. Hundreds remained trapped in interior compartments. Of the dead on the Oklahoma, 36 were easily recovered and identified. The remainder were not able to be identified and were interred in communal caskets.

Approximately 74,000 soldiers from World War II still remain unaccounted for. About one-quarter of those are considered recoverable by the military’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, the Hawaii organization that has relied on scientific and geopolitical changes to identify more than 600 long-lost MIAs since 2003.

The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command’s military and civilian teams have tracked down aircraft wrecks and burial sites in remote locations, exhumed remains, and analyzed bone fragments and bits of material at the world’s largest forensic anthropology lab. They work with casualty offices from each branch to find survivors and collect DNA samples for matching. For each name, the military tries to locate at least two relatives who share a long-lasting form of DNA passed along maternal lines.

In Hawaii, Greg Berg, the forensic anthropologist who manages the joint command’s Central Identification Laboratory, cautions that the work to identify remains could take years, the process he warns is complicated by commingling of remains which is far more extensive than expected. Only five people have been definitively identified since 2003.

Still, “the commingling problems are not insurmountable, and [we are] confident in our abilities to eventually bring about case resolution,’’ Berg said by e-mail.

For more see: Boston Globe

I just came across an article distributed by the National Public Radio (NPR) about a scientific beak though in DNA sequencing. This article just goes to show that DNA can answer current question about crimes, relationships and health but it can also help us look into our past.

Scientists have used DNA lurking inside the teeth of medieval Black Death victims to figure out the entire genetic code of the deadly bacterium that swept across Europe more than 600 years ago, killing an estimated half of the population…

People back then had no access to modern antibiotics and were likely weakened by other infections as well.

Poinar says the ancient Black Death DNA looks so similar to Yersinia pestis that still infects people today that researchers believe the medieval strain must be the ancestor of all modern strains.

The Natural History Museum of Denmark’s Thomas Gilbert says the insights that come from these studies will be of interest not only from a historical perspective, but also to help scientists understand how deadly epidemics have emerged in the past so that they can get ready for what might come in the future.

For the full story see: Decoded DNA Reveals Details Of Black Death

While this field of research might not seem very practical at first glance there is a wealth of knowledge about, diseases, bacteria and the ways we interact with them and how they spread and change.

By now you have heard the news: On October 3rd, 2011, Amanda Knox and former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, won their appeal in an Italian court and were acquitted and freed for the murder of British student, Meredith Kercher. Despite a previous trial and guilty verdict based on supposed DNA evidence, both convicted parties won an appeal and a deeper trial over the evidence occurred.

While we could pick over all of the details of the case, we’ll leave that for another organization to discuss. Instead, allow us to focus alone on genetic evidence.

With no obvious motive, no independent witnesses and no confessions, the Italian prosecutors had to rely on genetic evidence found at the crime scene to convict Knox and Sollecito. This makes sense as genetic evidence is supposed to be iron clad.  Or is it?

The original conviction relied on traces of Sollecito’s DNA being found on the victim’s (Kercher) brassiere clasp, together with traces of DNA from both defendants being found on the knife allegedly used to slash Kercher’s throat. However, similar to our famous U.S. tales of botched crime scene evidence (ie. the Jon Benet Ramsey or OJ Simpson cases), the prosecutions evidence has been marred with rumors of bad police work and possible fabricated evidence. Furthermore, not only did the defendants know Meredith Kercher, but Amanda Knox lived with her.This complicates matters on an enormous level.

The first issue is called “contamination”. Unlike crimes where the victim and perpetrator don’t know each other, and therefore a genetic link is most likely an obvious connection, it is hard to do the same with roommates and their visiting friends – there will always be matching DNA present. And although DNA evidence puts a person ‘at the scene of the crime’; it does not necessarily prove they committed the crime.

Secondly, although DNA evidence can match the scene of a crime, it does not allow for “time-based evidence”. There is no telling if a match occurs because a victim or perpetrator was present at the time of the incident or exists because they were present at some other point in history.

Finally, although many people have been successfully prosecuted on DNA evidence, it is not failsafe or full proof. Typically, a DNA sample found on a murder weapon will be said to match the DNA of the suspect to the extent that only one person in one million would have the same profile. However, if a particular genetic profile is held by one person in, say, one million this means that in a country with a population of 60m will have 60 people that give a perfect mach for the DNA evidence and even more would match a partial profile of that evidence.

In the U.S., a man called Kerry Robinson was convicted a few years ago of gang rape. In an independent investigation last year DNA evidence from the crime scene plus Robinson’s DNA profile was shown to 17 ‘blind’ analysts with no contextual information: the 17 experts were hugely divided – 12 said the suspect could be excluded.

Although no one can or should doubt the genetic evidence is a powerful tool for solving crime, it is not perfect and it has it’s weakness, from false positives to human error.  One thing is for certain – this legal matter and it’s evidence will be scrutinized for a long time to come. Let’s hope that we can learn from it.

 

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2044935/As-Amanda-Knox-walks-free-DNA-evidence-trial.html#ixzz1ZlPcRlgY

 

In a move that seems deceptively futuristic, but is in fact a sign of the times, the Nazareth, Pennsylvania based Martin Guitar Company is making waves in their industry by including botanical genetic coding in the body of their instruments.

Generations of  the Martin family have been proudly making guitars since 1833.  The current management, headed by Chairman and CEO Christian Frederick Martin IV, recently decided that, in an attempt to continue to fight for their otherwise stellar reputation, they will implant each new instrument with a DNA tag designed to thwart counterfeiters and send a message that they will not watch their company’s reputation diluted by cheap knockoffs, coming predominately out of China.

Gregory Paul, the company’s vice president of operations said, ”"The Martin family has always been vocal about fighting overseas counterfeiters. They have had a particularly hard time persuading the Chinese Government to prosecute imitators who have been selling inferior products under the C.F. Martin name.” “The Internet makes it too easy for a counterfeiter or their distributor to offer even a handful of units to a very broad audience. Ads for these sites crop up every day.”

The genetic tagging was developed by Applied DNA Sciences a company from Stony Brook, N.Y., which pioneered the technology allowing manufacturers to mark their products with a unique trace of plant DNA. According to a spokesman for the company ”The DNA tag itself can be put into anything in the production process it can be put into ink, for labels on wine bottles. It can be put into glue or varnish or just about anything.”

Applied DNA is also working with the Department of Defense to put tags on microchip components that go into weapons systems in order to combat counterfeit chips that have been making their way into the military supply chain.

What we wonder is how, exactly, the instruments will be tested for authenticity and how much it will cost to do so. Furthermore, if DNA/genetic coding can be found in the guitar and used for genetic testing to confirm authenticity, then won’t counterfeiters be able to obtain and replicate the DNA from the instrument(s) and apply it to their own?

Big questions for a big future in genetics…

New Hope for Old Cases: Full DNA Profile of Ted Bundy Now Available

Twenty Two years after Ted Bundy’s execution, and at least 30 dead, a full DNA profile of Bundy is now available though CODIS the FBI DNA database. It is hoped that his profile can bring closure to open homicide cases nation wide.

DNA was extracted from a vial of blood discovered in a courthouse where it had been stored for the last three decades. The profile was assembled by David Coffman, chief of forensics at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Coffman says that police departments can now enter DNA evidence they might have from cold cases into the system and see if there is any match with Mr. Bundy’s DNA

Coffman also said in an interview that he typically receives four or five calls a year from investigators located nation-wide asking about Bundy’s DNA in connection with unsolved cases. He went on to state that until now there has been no full DNA profile available. Because of the length of time Bundy was actively killing, and because he was active on both the west and the east coasts, many investigators would like to confirm or eliminate him as a suspect. Unfortunately, his crimes took place well before the advent of DNA technology and therefore, his DNA was not secured before his death. In 2002 a partial DNA profile was created from a tissue sample taken during Bundy’s autopsy, but the profile from the tissue sample was not complete enough to enter into the F.B.I. database CODIS. Until now.

Coffman’s department was contacted earlier this year by the Tacoma Washington Police Department for a cold case that involved an 8-year-old girl who disappeared from her house in 1961. They suspected Bundy because he was living in Tacoma at the time and alway claimed that he got is start as a teen. He was 14 at the time. Bundy denied responsibility for her disappearance.

Coffman’s department made an effort to extract DNA from two dental molds held at the department’s forensics laboratory. The impressions, which had been taken in the 1970s, matched bite marks on the left buttock of 20-year-old Lisa Levy, one of two students at Florida State University Mr. Bundy was convicted of killing. But the DNA in the dental molds was too degraded to use for a profile.

Coffman’s department then started calling contacts around Florida to see if any evidence might still exist that could contain DNA. Fortunately, a vial of blood was found in the evidence vault at the Columbia County courthouse. The blood had been taken in 1978 in connection with the death of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach in Lake City, Fla., the third murder Mr. Bundy was convicted for.

Despite being 33 years old, the sample was perfect and a full profile was created and uploaded into the F.B.I.’s DNA database, CODIS.

According to Coffman, at this time there have been no hits on any cold cases. The Tacoma police hope to test any DNA they can find from the Burr case against the Bundy profile. Cold-case detective in the Tacoma Police Department’s homicide unit, Gene Miller said  his office was shipping biological material from the Burr house to the state’s crime laboratory and that if DNA can be extracted, it would then be uploaded into the F.B.I.’s database. He and his office feel that this could be ”a huge step forward,” Detective Miller said. Even if it does not, “it will still be a great step forward,” because it will finally eliminate or confirm him as a suspect. It is likely that police departments in other areas where Bundy passed through will do the same.

New York State officials are hoping that genetic testing can help solve the mystery of a mountain lion which mysteriously appeared in Greenwich. DNA testing will be used to determine where the deceased young male mountain lion came from and, hopefully, how he got to Greenwich, NY in the first place. Along with how is the question of any criminal aspect to his appearance.  A mountain lion was killed by a driver on Route 15 in Milford, NY early Saturday morning. Officials believe that this same lion that had been spotted in the upper King Street area of Greenwich earlier.

The mountain lion was neither neutered nor declawed, according to DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) officials. But they do believe the lion was let go from captivity or released into the area.  Mountain lions are not native to this region of the state

Officials believe that by conducting genetic testing, examining the animal’s stomach content and checking to see if it was microchiped, they can determine where the mountain lion came from, including whether the animal is native to North America or South America.

After the crash that killed the mountain lion in Milford, there were three other reports of possible mountain lions, but DEP is not considering them to be credible because of a lack of photos or significant paw prints.

New York state DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) received an anonymous call on Sunday to report a large cat in the area of exit 31 on the Merritt Parkway in Greenwich. Later a call from a Greenwich family reported a large tan cat in the backyard of their John Street home, near the Audubon. The family described the cat as a mountain lion.

DEP Officials are testing “scat” or feces to determine what the second reported animal is.

DEP officials say that part of the investigation into the deceased mountain lion will be done in New York, where officials are checking on “permitted lions” to see if that generates leads. The closest mountain lion population is located in Florida. While the mountain lions roam, DEP officials do not think it is likely that a Florida mountain lion would have made the trip that far north.

DEP officials said mountain lions are most active at dawn and dusk and anyone with information should call 860-424-3333

 

 

The newest in your child’s athletic careers might just be a genetic test to see what sports they may be suited for. The parent simply swabs the inside of the child’s mouth and sends the cotton swab off to the company for analysis. The tests are reported to be able to:

• Give coaches and parents early information about their child’s predisposition for success in team or individual sports.
• Can be used to help developing a personalized training and conditioning program necessary for athletic and sport development.

The real question is are these claims fact or fiction? What makes an athlete?  When evaluating athletes, amateurs or professional, you need to look at combination of physical, mental and social attributes. Unfortunately these test can cause children or their parents to push for extreme sports regiments with out looking at the mental and physical effects on the child.

Some of the long term effects are due to life-long injuries to areas like back, knee and hip which are often the end result of extreme forms of exercise or adult obesity and the probability of heart disease which can be an unfortunate outcome of the misguided concept of “bulking up.” Rapid weight gain at any age is associated with dramatic increases in abdominal fat, which is linked to diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

We continue to believe that now we have discovered the human genome sequence we are able understand how the human body works, and we would be even crazier to think that knowing about a few genes can let us shape the future of a child for any reason not just for sports.

By Briana R.

Multiple sources have confirmed that Arnold Schwarzenegger never asked for a DNA test to prove he was the father of Mildred Baena’s child.  In addition, Mildred Baena has yet to establish paternity which typically requires a DNA test.

Sources state that Baena’s husband was out of the country when the child was conceived and that he did not return until shortly before the baby was born.  In addition it is said that the child bears a striking resemblance to Schwarzenegger and to Schwarzenegger’s youngest son Christopher.

According to the American Association of Blood Banks an agency that also monitors DNA Paternity Testing, 3.5 out of 10 Paternity Test comes back as a negative.

Is Arnold Schwarzenegger safe to assume Mildred Baena’s child is his with out a DNA Test? Appearances can be deceiving especially when it comes to a persons DNA. Do you think Arnold Schwarzenegger should insist on a DNA test?

 

By Briana R.

Clonaid™ a company that claims to be a provider of reproductive human cloning services announced that a baby born on December 26th, 2002 was the first cloned baby. The baby, called Eve, is reported to be a clone of her mother. The company provided no pictures of the baby and no names of the parents were offered, not even a vague location of their whereabouts. By 2004 Clonaid had claimed the successful birth of 13 health cloned babies.

Cloning creates a new individual using only one person’s DNA. The process is technically difficult but conceptually simple. Scientists remove the genetic material from an unfertilized egg, then introduce new DNA from a cell of the animal to be cloned. Under the proper conditions, the egg begins dividing into new cells according to the instructions in the introduced DNA.

Cloning experts have said they need to see DNA evidence done by independent experts before they believe Clonaid’s claims. As of yet this has not happened.  In 2003, it appeared that the world might get the evidence of cloning when freelance TV journalist and former ABC-TV science editor Michael Guillen,  said he had chosen an expert who will draw DNA samples from the Eve and her mother. Guillen, said he had no links to Clonaid and was not being paid for his work. He had picked, two “world-class, independent DNA testing labs,” where other experts will look for a match between the samples. Unfortunately the samples and the testing never appeared.

At this point human cloning is still an unfounded claim and a hot topic of debate. Clonaid’s announcement created a flood of questions: ethical, medical, political, religious — some which belonged solely to the field of science fiction up to this point it appears. Their announcement also created a flurry of legislation and/or guidelines to ban human cloning have been introduced or passed in dozens of nations, including the United States. While many countries, including Britain, Israel, Japan and Germany, already have banned human cloning.